The two men who were lost at sea and were found last Friday reportedly sailed from Saipan to seek asylum in Guam.
According to a Saipan Tribune source, Xiao Wei Quin and Yun Liu Red, who were rescued last Friday 65 miles northwest of Rota after nearly a week since being reported missing, made the journey from Saipan to Guam on July 18 to seek asylum as they are under immigration removal proceedings on Saipan.
After being rescued, the two were brought back to Saipan through the Smiling Cove Marina aboard the merchant vessel Mito.
Asylum is protection granted to foreign nationals who suffer persecution or fear they will face persecution for their race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Currently, the CNMI does not offer asylum and Guam is the closest island that offers this protection.
The two reportedly intended to apply for asylum in Guam because they entered the CNMI as tourists back in 2019 and have overstayed their visas. In addition, one of the men, Xiao, was arrested in 2019 for assault and battery.
Xiao and Yun attempted to illegally enter Guam on a 14-foot skiff and after being reported lost, a large amount of government resources were used to look for them. The two were recovered three day after the U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search last Tuesday, July 27.
The search began Wednesday, July 21, when the black Kodiak skiff the two men were operating was reported overdue while traveling to Guam.
Sector Guam watchstanders received a report from the CNMI Department of Public Safety at 4:16pm that day notifying them that the spouse of one of the individuals had called after being concerned for the mariners’ wellbeing. The spouse reported that the two men left Saipan for Guam on July 18, and the last text she received from her husband stated he could see Guam.
Sector Guam watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and deployed assets to search the area, while also coordinating with local and federal partners, including land searches in Guam.